MLB Wrap: Happ hit in head by line drive in Jays' win

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MLB Wrap: Happ hit in head by line drive in Jays' win

The results of Roy Halladay's medical exam have yet to be finalized but an update should occur on Wednesday.

In Halladay's place, Tyler Cloyd will get the start on Friday in Arizona.

In the wake of Halladay's injury, Cliff Lee said the Phillies must press on even if Doc is "gone forever."

Here's a recap of Tuesday's notable games:

Happ hit in head in Jays' win
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It was a sickening sound.

A line drive that hit J.A. Happ in the head so hard the "thwack!" could be heard up in the press box.

And then, silence.

Desmond Jennings' second-inning liner caromed squarely off the left side of Happ's head, and the Blue Jays pitcher was taken off the field on a stretcher during Toronto's 6-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.

The team said Happ was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where he was alert and undergoing tests. Nursing supervisor Natasha Keller told The Associated Press that Happ had been admitted to the hospital and was in stable condition.

"I think the last indication was that he was alert and feeling better and had gone for a CT scan. That's the last I heard," Toronto pitcher R.A. Dickey said.

The ball went all the way into the bullpen in foul territory halfway down the right-field line. Happ dropped face down at the front of the mound, holding his head with his glove and bare hand.

Jennings ended up on third base with a two-run triple. Team trainers, paramedics and medical officials rushed to Happ's aid as Tropicana Field fell into a hush (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Harvey, Mets one-hit White Sox
NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey pitched one-hit ball for nine innings in a nearly perfect performance and the New York Mets permitted just one baserunner all game in beating the Chicago White Sox 1-0 in the 10th Tuesday night.

Harvey allowed only an infield single by Alex Rios with two outs in the seventh -- he was safe, barely. The right-hander struck out a career-high 12 and was pulled when the game went to extra innings.

Pinch-hitter Mike Baxter lined an RBI single with one out in the 10th off Nate Jones (0-3).

Mets reliever Bobby Parnell (3-0) retired all three batters in the 10th (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Kimbrel blows save, Braves lose
CINCINNATI -- Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo hit two-out homers in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday night, rallying the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Mesoraco connected for his first career pinch-hit homer off Craig Kimbrel, who blew a save for the second time in five days. Kimbrel went to a full count on Mesoraco before the catcher homered into the first row in center.

Four pitches later, Choo hit his second homer of the game, giving him a team-leading seven. It was his second career game-ending homer.

Kimbrel fanned the first two batters in the ninth and was only one strike away from getting his 100th career save. He'd allowed only one homer this season, but gave up two in a five-pitch sequence.

Jonathan Broxton retired three batters in the ninth for Cincinnati's fourth win in five games (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Astros top Angels to snap skid
HOUSTON -- Chris Carter's three-run homer put Houston ahead in the third, and the Astros held on for a 7-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.

The win ends a six-game skid for the Astros. The road woes continued for the Angels, who have dropped eight of their past 10 away from Anaheim.

Jose Altuve also homered for Houston, and the Astros took advantage of three errors by catcher Hank Conger to score five unearned runs.

Houston trailed by two entering the third inning before Carter's team-leading seventh homer capped a five-run inning and gave the Astros a 6-3 lead.

Mark Trumbo hit his ninth home run for Los Angeles, a three-run shot in the first inning.

Howie Kendrick hit a solo homer off Dallas Keuchel in the sixth, and Alberto Callaspo got Los Angeles within 7-6 with a two-run blast off Travis Blackley in the eighth.

Jose Veras threw a perfect ninth for his third save (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Drew Anderson has emerged as one of the Phillies' top pitching prospects

Drew Anderson has emerged as one of the Phillies' top pitching prospects

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Drew Anderson remembers his telephone ringing in November. He remembers hearing Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan congratulate him and tell him that he'd been placed on the team's 40-man roster.

Anderson was elated.

"It was awesome," the right-handed pitcher said the other day.

So awesome that Anderson celebrated in an unusual way.

"I busted out 50 pushups," he said. "I had so much adrenaline."

The internal discussions that teams have when considering which players to protect on the 40-man roster and which ones to risk losing in the Rule 5 draft are often long and detailed and decisions are not always reached easily.

But in Anderson's case ...

"It was not a long conversation," Jordan said. "The feeling was, 'Put him on the roster. Don't lose him. Let's talk about the next guy.'"

"Across the board," minor-league pitching coordinator Rafael Chaves said. "And that's not common for a kid that pitched in A-ball."

Anderson, who turns 23 on March 22, will get his first taste of Double A ball in April.

Clearly, the Phillies are high on him.

But how high?

"We've got scouts who will tell you that he might be our best pitching prospect," Jordan said.

Given some of the power arms that the Phils have collected in the low minors, that's quite a statement.

If it seems as if Anderson has flown below the radar since being drafted by the Phillies in 2012 it's because, well, he's done just that.

For a while.

He received little interest from four-year colleges coming out of Galena High School in Reno, Nevada, and was headed to Mesa Community College in Arizona before the Phillies selected him in the 21st round that year.

"My name never really got out there," he said. "Really only the Phillies looked at me. (Area scout) Joey Davis saw me and he said he liked that I had a fluid arm and he liked the way the ball jumped out of my hand. He saw me as a sleeper pick. I just wanted to play ball so I said, 'Yeah, I'll give it a shot.'"

Jordan recalled seeing Anderson pitch at Single A Lakewood early in the 2014 season. Anderson had added strength to his 6-foot-3 frame and his fastball velocity had jumped from 90-92 mph to 93-95 mph.

"It was just a matter of physical maturity, his body getting stronger, and we were really excited," Jordan said.

Anderson did not make it through that season, however. He came down with an elbow injury and the following spring became a statistic — a pitcher who needed Tommy John surgery.

Anderson missed the 2015 season. He came back in May of last year and made 15 starts between Lakewood and Clearwater. At Clearwater, the Phillies' advanced Single A stop, Anderson posted a 1.93 ERA in 32 2/3 innings. He struck out 37 and walked 10.

The rehabilitation process after Tommy John surgery focuses on more than just the elbow. Special attention is paid to the shoulder and the legs. Working under Joe Rauch, the Phillies' minor-league rehab specialist, Anderson gained much strength in those areas and it showed in his fastball velocity last summer.

He got it up to 97 mph.

He also has a good breaking ball and an improving changeup to go with a classic pitcher's body. He has long arms and weighs 205 pounds.

"We just felt some team out there would have taken him even if they had to stash him in the bullpen," said Jordan, expounding on the Phils' decision to add Anderson to the 40-man roster in November. "He's too big an asset."

Anderson is excited about making the jump to Reading this season. He's never pitched more than 76 innings as a pro and now that he's healthy needs to start racking up mound time and experience.

Anderson mentioned how hard he worked this offseason to get ready for his first trip to big-league camp and what lies beyond when he heads to Double A.

The hard work started with those 50 pushups that he busted out upon learning that he'd been placed on the 40-man roster.

"After hearing that, it was time to kick it in gear," he said. "I was like, 'Let's do this.'

"I've had some ups and downs, but I feel like I'm on track now."

Phillies Notes: Hector Neris looks to become three-pitch guy in 2017

Phillies Notes: Hector Neris looks to become three-pitch guy in 2017

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Hector Neris racked up 102 strikeouts, the second-most ever by a Phillies reliever, during his breakout 2016 season.

The right-hander did it basically with a two-pitch mix — a power fastball and a darting splitter that manager Pete Mackanin likes to call “an invisible pitch.”

After last season, Neris reflected on his success, which included a 2.58 ERA over 80⅓ innings, the third-most among NL relievers.

Neris determined that he would need to diversify his pitch repertoire if he’s going to continue to have success.

So during winter ball in his native Dominican Republic, he dusted off his seldom-used slider and threw it more. He’s polishing it up in this camp and plans to use it in the upcoming World Baseball Classic and during the regular season.

“I think it’s something that can make me better,” Neris said. “I’ve never had the confidence in it that I had in my other pitches, but I’m working hard on it. It will give me a third option for the hitter to think about.”

Neris threw a slider 2.9 percent of the time in 2016, according to MLB Statcast. He threw more than 49 percent splitters and 46 percent fastballs.

“In the big leagues you have to respect the hitter,” Neris said. “The hitters know me now and they know I throw fastballs and splitters. I need to have that third pitch for them to respect. When I throw it, I want them to say, ‘What is that?’”

Neris’ splitter darts down and in to a right-hander hitter. The slider will break the other way.

Neris has talked about different grips on the pitch with guest spring-training instructor Larry Andersen, who threw a million sliders in his career.

“He threw some nasty ones today,” Andersen said after Tuesday’s workout. “The pitch will help him.”

McLaren to WBC
Bullpen coach John McLaren will leave camp on Wednesday and travel to Japan as Team China assembles for the World Baseball Classic. McLaren will manage that club. He also skippered the club in 2013.

Asked if he spoke more than seven words of Chinese, McLaren quipped, “That would be pushing it. I’m still trying to conquer English.”

Team China will provide a translator for McLaren, though there is a universal element to baseball communication.

“This is my third time going to the WBC,” McLaren said. “I love it.”

Almost game time
The Phillies will play their annual exhibition game against the University of Tampa on Thursday. The Phils are expected to play many of the young players that will make up their Triple A Lehigh Valley roster. Right-hander Mark Leiter Jr., who pitched at Double A Reading last season, will come over from minor-league camp to make the start. Pitching coach Bob McClure said he expected to get several projected big-league relievers work in the game.

Alec Asher will start the Grapefruit League opener against the Yankees on Friday in Tampa and Adam Morgan will start Saturday’s games against the Yankees in Clearwater.